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Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate Symposium Mentors

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Issues or questions?  Email Sabine%20Heinhorst or call 601.266.4710 (prior to day of symposium) 

The UGS Planning Committee thanks you for mentoring undergraduate research or creative project(s). We appreciate your dedication and persistent efforts on behalf of our students and want to provide information that we think will be helpful as your advisee, with your assistance, prepares for the UGS.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Poster and oral presentations are evaluated with this common, seven-point rubric:
Category Considerations
Purpose and Content articulation and support of central idea/purpose
Project Design understanding and justification of methods and/or interpretation
Findings and Conclusions identification and discussion of the project’s scholarly contributions
Questions and Answers ability to answer questions from the audience
Language use of standard English and technical language
Presentation Structure content, design, layout, use of visual aids (if applicable)
Presentation Style vocal delivery, eye contact, body language, attire



  • Prize categories are assigned based on the projects that have been submitted and do not necessarily correspond to panels, panel titles, or poster numbering. Panels are assembled based on related research projects; presenters in a panel may not be competing against each other. We strive to give all presenters a similar chance (typically 1 in 3 to 1 in 4) of winning a prize.
  • All presenters are expected to attend the recognition and awards ceremony and must be present to receive an award. Mr. Donald Drapeau, our generous alumnus who donates ~$15,000 for the presentation prizes annually, is typically present and hands out the certificates to the winners. It is embarrassing if a winner’s name is called and the student has left already. Please point out to your student presenter the importance of attending the ceremony!

Oral Presentations

  • If you are planning to accompany your student presenter to her/his panel session, please arrive before the first talk and enjoy all presentations. Many students are nervous and not very confident about their presentations; frequent traffic into and out of the room during the session is distracting and, more importantly, might be viewed as a lack of interest in their research project.
  • Even if not conventional in your discipline, each paper and student will be introduced by the moderator one at a time, with Q&A to follow each presentation. Judges will assess the student’s ability to field questions; thus, each student must have a chance to do so.

Poster Presentations

  • In preparation for the symposium, please ask your student to share with you the guidelines for poster size and contents and provide advice and assistance with poster design and preparation. 
  • To help your student presenter interact effectively with the judges, please schedule at least one practice session before the symposium, in which your student gives you a brief synopsis of the project and its outcomes. You may also want to ask a few questions to follow up on points that are not clear, and generally give advice on possible improvements to the presentation.
  • You are welcome to accompany your student presenter to the poster session, but please be as unobtrusive as possible and do not interfere with the judging process (i.e., do not answer questions for your student).


Contact a DCUR representative:

Dr.%20Sabine%20Heinhorst or Dr.%20Rebecca%20Tuuri for all questions about DCUR

The University of Southern Mississippi
Drapeau Center for Undergraduate Research
118 College Dr. #5162
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001



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Contact a member of the UGS Planning Committee in your area of interest for questions related to conventions of presentations in your discipline.

Contact Dr.%20Rebecca%20Tuuri or Dr.%20Sabine%20Heinhorst for questions related to abstract submission or registration, UGS schedule or program, judging or moderating.

Contact Dr.%20Kelly%20Lester, Professor%20Allen%20Chen, Professor%20Jared%20Hollingsworth or Dr.%20Nicholas%20Ciraldo for questions related to the Arts Showcase.
Contact the Center%20for%20Community%20Engagement%20for all questions about community-engaged projects.